Movement patterns and shelter choice of spiny-cheek crayfish (Orconectes limosus) in a large lake’s littoral zone

Philipp.Fischer [ at ]


he study of individual movement patterns and habitat choice is a fundamental step to assess an invasive species’ range extension and to inform possible management options. The spiny-cheek crayfish is an invasive species currently spreading in Europe and also in Lake Constance. This is of concern because the greater Lake Constance area still holds refugial populations of native crayfish that might be endangered by the invader. In invasive crayfish, individual movement patterns and the availability of suitable shelters can predict an invasive population’s spread. In a radio telemetry and mark-recapture study and in semi-natural outdoor experiments, we investigated movement patterns and shelter choice of spiny-cheek crayfish. In the field, radio-tagged and marked crayfish moved distances up to 1200 m within 4 and 13 days, respectively and mostly prevailed within the littoral zone at less than 3 m depth. Tracked crayfish resided close to artificial structures such as boat harbours in the study area. In the outdoor experiments spiny-cheek crayfish used litter as daytime shelter but also chose natural stones and macrophytes. We provide the first large- lake telemetry data on crayfish movement and our results suggest that spiny-cheek crayfish will expand its range within the lake moving along the shoreline. Artificial structures such as boat harbours and litter might facilitate this spread by providing suitable shelters. Our results can help to inform the implementation of countermeasures against the spread of invasive crayfish populations.

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Hirsch, P. , Burkhardt-Holm, P. , Töpfer, I. and Fischer, P. (2016): Movement patterns and shelter choice of spiny-cheek crayfish (Orconectes limosus) in a large lake’s littoral zone , Aquatic Invasions, 11 (1), pp. 55-65 .


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